Long term storage can take a toll on your belongings if you don’t take care in the way you store them. To get an idea about which size/type of storage unit is best for your belongings you should talk to the storage company. But, to ensure that your belongings remain in good condition and stay safe during months of storage, follow these 10 tips:
1. Avoid Water Damage
This first rule applies to everyone, not just the people living in coastal or low elevation places, because it only takes a little water to do a lot of damage. To avoid water damage, keep water damage prone items in plastic bins and keep items away from walls where water can drip down. Do NOT use plastic bags for storage, they are especially prone to collecting moisture.
Additionally, it is a great idea to use a moisture-absorbant such as DampRid which is sold at Home Depot for around $10.
2. Climate Control
Consider getting a climate control storage unit if you are worried about moisture or heat. While the price will be a little big higher, it could be worth it for long term storage especially if you have valuable items in your storage unit.
3. Clean, Clean, Clean
Clean all items, especially furniture like couches, thoroughly before storing to avoid any mold/mildew growth. It is also important to get all your appliances and electronics properly cleaned to avoid rusting or damage to the item
Here is a great article on how to deep clean your laptop that you can apply to any of your electronic devices from Kiwi Services. Additionally Upholstery Cleaning Hub has great advice on how to clean all types of fabrics.
4. Break it Apart
Disassemble furniture when possible to save space and ensure safe storing. This will not only make it easier to carry the items as you pack and unpack the items, but it can help you keep your storage unit more organized.
For a great tutorial on how to disassemble furniture safely check out this article.
5. Use Pallets
Use pallets to keep items off the floor. This is another excellent way to avoid any water damage. In the rare case of flooding, this can help keep your belongings protected. It will also help with any moisture that might stick to the ground of the storage unit.
You can get pallets for free at a variety of places. Try looking at garden and hardware stores as well as motorcycle and power equipment shops. While you may be tempted to hit the big commercial and manufacturing businesses first, they usually have a recurring contract with pallet pickup and delivery so they are not your best bet. Think of the small, local businesses first and go from there.
6. Be Specific
Be specific with your labeling. Let’s be real, you won’t remember which of the 8 boxes labeled “Samantha’s things” has your favorite book, or the kitchen utensils for your new home.
7. Lock Up
Get a good lock to keep out any intruders. While most storage units are secure and under watch by the storage company, it is never a bad idea to be extra careful.
Ask your storage company what kinds of locks are available, or what kind you can buy from a third party vendor that will work before you move your stuff in so your are prepared.
8. Ditch the Food & Fireworks
There are a few items that should never be stored. First, never store anything that could be considered food, or those who consider it food will find a way in. This includes birdseed, pet food, and the like.
Second, never store any flammable objects. Right behind water damage, fire damage is one of the most common ways storage units get damaged. Not only could it ruin all of your belongings, but it has the potential to affect other storage units around you as well.
9. Purge First
Only store the essentials and get the smallest storage unit possible to save money. After 18 months, you will wish you didn’t pay extra for a bigger unit to store all your extra junk.
Here is a list of 250+ things you can throw away that are cluttering your home from A House Full of Sunshine.
10. Protect Your Belongings
Cover furniture with 100% cotton white sheets to protect them and wrap items in packing paper. Do NOT use dark colored sheets because they could bleed onto the furniture if there is moisture. Similarly, newspaper can bleed onto items when used instead of packing paper.